Staunton, Nov. 20 – “Beginning approximately in 2011-2013, the Kremlin rulers have been living inside the paradigm of the inevitability of World War III,” Vladimir Pastukhov says. It isn’t that they want it but that they are paranoid and believe that they must be in a position to strike first in the conflict that they think is inevitable.
And as time has passed, those leaders have come to resemble ever more closely their predecessors in St. Petersburg before 1914, Russians then who like Russians now believe that they have no choice but to strike first even though they don’t want to get involved, the London-based Russian analyst says (echo.msk.ru/programs/year2021/2938154-echo/).
What that means, Pastukhov continues, is that like in 1914, Russia is going to war less for economic reasons than for ideological ones. In 1914, Russia didn’t have any reason to fight. It didn’t have any need for new territories, it had normal relations with the European powers, and it was doing well economically at home.
But there was an ideological withdrawal from international trends on the past of “the archaic Russian regime.” Petersburg was “trying to stop history,” and to do that, it fell victim to believing its own mythology and acted on the basis of it rather than on the basis of its real needs. One especially powerful myth then was that of the existence of a Pan-Slavic brotherhood.
And behind that myth was an even more potent one: the conviction among Russian leaders in 1914 that “if we do not defend our imperial borders, they will simply cease to respect us; if they cease to respect us, they will spit on everything; and if they do that, this means that we will die.”
Unfortunately, Pastukhov says, that is exactly what is the case with the current generation of Russian leaders as well. They believe their own propaganda, something many find difficult to believe; but “the most terrible truth” is that there is no difference between what Kremlin propagandists are saying and what Kremlin leaders believe.